Four participants on a Zoom call

Team Mountain Mates

On 27 October 2021 we welcomed back four shortlisted teams to present to an audience of judges, fellow Alumni, and Scholars at the grand final policy hackathon event. The finalist teams were: ‘Accessible Finance Brazil’, ‘Sunrise’, ‘IMAGED (Incentives for Mitigating Agricultural Greenhouse gas Emissions with Data)’, and ‘Mountain Mates’: see more on their proposed policies here.

The judges were impressed by all the presentations given during the energetically-paced two-hour event and found it difficult to pick a winner. In the end, Team ‘Mountain Mates’ pipped the other teams to the post with an extremely professional presentation and by tackling well the challenging questions which the judges asked of them. Their policy proposal was to enhance the quantity and quality of agriculture in the Hindu Kush Himalayas region (enabling it to be resilient to climate change) through reintroducing resilient species native to the region, offering support using a credit scheme, delivering an education programme, and facilitating a campaign through use of Geographic Indication tags marked with the brand logo. This proposal convinced the judges that out of all the inspiring presentations it was the most viable and beneficial climate solution.

Market logo for GI tagged food and products

Market logo for GI tagged food and products

Our congratulations go to the winning team participants who are as follows:
– Daphne Ezer
– Geetanjali Singh
– Sibulele Ngomane
– Hamza Rafay Butt

Well done to Sibulele Ngomane for the excellent presentation delivery, and Geetanjali Singh who deftly handled the Q&A. The winning policy is described in further detail below.

Reintroducing Neglected and Underutilised Species in the Hindu Kush Himalayas for climate resilience
Our policy reintroduces indigenous food crops and livestock which are currently neglected & underutilised species (NUSs) in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region.  The policy objective is to enhance the quantity and quality of agriculture in the HKH region enabling it to be resilient to climate change.

The HKH region is home to 240 million people whereby the majority depend on local agriculture as a source of food and livelihood. Climate change threatens agricultural systems in the HKH region through changed glacier behaviour, floods, droughts, interrupted water supplies and crop to pest distribution. Compared to cereal crops and mixed livestock breeds, NUSs can withstand harsh and unseasonable weather. Moreover, NUSs are nutritionally dense, suitable for prolonged storage and commercially viable. To ensure efficiency and effectiveness of NUSs re-introduction, our policy has three pillars: (i) NUS Credit Scheme, (ii) NUS Capacity and Awareness Training Programme and (iii) Traditionally Himalayan Campaign.

Image of farmers shaking handsThe NUS Credit Scheme makes NUSs cultivation affordable for farmers by providing low interest rate loans, purchase assistance for NUSs climate smart equipment and price matching for harvested NUSs. The NUS Capacity and Awareness Training Program innovates these agricultural practices by educating farmers on the advantages of NUSs and climate smart equipment. This program will also facilitate peer-to-peer farming through the sharing of best practices . Finally, the Traditionally Himalayan Campaign guarantees enhanced marketability by creating Geographic Indication (GI) tags marked food with brand logo for climate-resilient HKH NUSs.